“Any time you get a little bit out of your element, it makes it tough to get those girls (energized),” Shumway said. “We had all day, we didn’t compete until 5, and we’d stayed up really late after (Friday’s football) game.”
Though Shumway had just one senior last year and three this year, next year she should have at least six seniors with varsity experience, plus several junior varsity cheerleaders that could make the team. With so much experience, the Lady Buffs could place even higher at State next year, possibly returning to the top-four team they were when Shumway graduated from McAlester in 2002.
“We actually tied for third my senior year, and I think my senior year and the year after we placed in the top four,” Shumway said.
“We’re building up a little bit better, a little bit stronger every single year. I’ve tried to make a few changes to the program to really increase our strength during the summer, and we’ve kind of been waiting on these kids that are coming up who are just incredibly talented. We think we’ll definitely be contenders next year.”
McAlester’s competitive cheerleading season has ended for at least 2013, though Shumway said the Lady Buffs may go to an Oklahoma Cheerleading Coaches Association competition in January. The end of State means the Lady Buffs can concentrate on performing Friday nights and promoting school spirit, which Shumway said has always been the team’s priority.
“Competition season is always so stressful for us, just because we feel like we’re being pulled in a few different directions,” Shumway said. "We’re having to make sure we’re ready for pep assemblies, and we’re ready for games, and we’re still doing our community service stuff, and we have people calling us every day asking us to make appearances our volunteer our time.